I have recently partnered with Fields and Futures, an organization that repairs and rebuilds athletic fields for Oklahoma City public schools. One of the many things that our partnership entails is visiting those very schools and talking with the female athletes enrolled. I have visited schools on Friday's for a little while now, and my passion for talking to young women about sport and life is growing immensely.
Today I visited Northwest Classen High School in Oklahoma City, and was blown away. Literally, almost blown away from the monsoon that hit OK. But, it was my first speaking event where I talked to several sports at one time. It wasn't a room with a few softball players in it (which is still great), but a space full of so many backgrounds, athletic abilities, experiences, struggles, STORIES. I felt overwhelmed as I walked in the room, but in such a good way. Some girls were chatting quietly in the back, others were on their phones. The coaches introduced themselves to me, and then it was my turn to talk. I originally wanted to stick with the original script- my childhood, getting recruited, college, pro. I quickly realized that I had the opportunity to really SPEAK into these girls' minds, and get real.
High school is such a blip in the timeline of life. But while I was experiencing it, it was everything. Life after high school did not exist because that moment was the biggest thing that had ever happened to me. There were cute boys, rude girls, tough coaches. Bad decisions were made, and lessons were learned almost every day. I had constant mood swings, and body changes that happened way too fast. My friend group switched all the time as I struggled to find myself, and BE myself. Similar stories filled the eyes of the girls in the room. So many souls were yearning to be fed some type of reassurance that everything was going to be OK, whether they believed it or not.
I went on to talk about the concept of a team, understanding roles and becoming a family. The conversation went on to confidence, and personal struggles were addressed. I got real with them, and they got real with me. You could feel the honesty and authenticity in the air. When a point was made and nods multiplied
throughout the room, I knew I was unlocking some levels in the girls that usually weren't reached.
Young people, especially girls, need to be pushed. Challenged. Inspired. I believe that what sends the inspiration into action is the simple belief that someone cares about them, and believes in them! I will continue to speak into the minds and hearts of young girls, because it needs to be done. It is my duty as an athlete, and most importantly a woman, to share my twenty-two years of knowledge and help in any way that I can. I may still be young and figuring everything out, but open dialogue on life, sport, and everything in between needs to be had.
I love my life, and the opportunities I am getting. I get the chance to meet amazing young women every week, and I find myself in awe, over and over again.